We went to the zoo in spite of the rain, and I'm really glad we did--I ended up with a lot of photos that I'm really proud of. Renting the big 150-500mm zoom lens was well worth the money, and I'd recommend the rental experience to anyone interested in trying something new. My important take-aways:
- Monopod or tripod is a must. I brought both and only ended up using the monopod since it was lighter and easier to walk around with.
- Bring a trash bag to deal with the rain. I tore a hole in one corner and just wadded the whole thing up into my jacket pocket, so once the rain began in earnest, I was able to just slip it over the lens barrel and camera body and keep on trucking.
- Get ready to bruise your hand carrying this lens by its tripod mount; there's not much padding on the knuckle of your index finger, and the cumulative carry time adds up fast.
- Getting out in the weather is a lot more fun that I expected.
- Have goals in mind so that you get to all of the animals you want to.
- Get ready for some post-production. This lens has great reach, but lacks a bit in speed, clarity, and saturation. But with a little attention in Lightroom and careful, selective sharpening in Photoshop, really satisfying results can be obtained without too much effort.
I'm definitely sold on the idea of owning a "zoo and airshow lens" now. I guess I'll have to rent the Canon 100-400 or the Sigma 50-500 to compare!
98 days to go.